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Projects Project Mattitude: the Beginning

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by TexasSpeed, May 31, 2011.

  1. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Project Mattitude

    :: Disclaimer ::
    I am in no way a professional hot rodder, customizer, restorer, or builder although I strive to be and aim to be someday in the near future. I am currently a full-time student in college so updates during the school year will not be as frequent as summers. I don't have much money to get parts so I work on what I have. I am relatively new to ground-up builds and this is my first ground-up build, so my ways are not necessarily the best way, easiest way, nor the correct way. They are simply my attempts at getting the job done. There are plenty of bad decisions, dumb choices, and the results of those actions but they get corrected. This is a HAMB-friendly build, I assure you so stick with me as I go through my first hot rod build. Criticism is strongly encouraged but only of the constructive kind. Thank you. Hope y'all enjoy this.

    I figured it was about time to start a build thread so you guys know that my questions are genuine, would be put to use and so I could give back to you guys what I've gained in knowledge.

    This story started about four or so years ago. I came home one evening and my dad was sitting on the couch and motioned me over. It was then he told me to look in the back of his '72 GMC LWB. I walked outside and looked in the back and up against the tailgate was a Model A crossmember although at the time I had no idea what it was. Being relatively new to cars I had more of a street rodder / r*t rodder mind set. I was more into muscle cars anyways but was debating starting a '46 Chevy "bobber" truck project.

    I then walked inside and my dad asked me what I thought it was and I replied that I had no idea. He then said "I found you a Model A project." and as soon as he mentioned "Model A" I really started listening! I was already a member on here but under another handle. I was still in my lurking stages so I never really contributed nor did I fully understand what the HAMB was. Thank God I didn't rant or reply much on here, had I done so, I would have gotten chewed out then I would be turned off to the HAMB because now I couldn't live without this wonderful community we have here. I check in everyday and study up. Anyways, back to the story..

    My dad explained that he went to get the A crossmember for another friend of his and he spotted the Model A Sport Coupe at the guy's house and inquired. The owner explained that he had recently gotten a pacemaker put in so he couldn't weld anymore. He was planning on selling off his future project cars and my dad asked him how much he wanted for the A..

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    (the right quarter was included among the other parts I got in the purchase)

    I asked my dad how much he would let it go for and he told me $200. I knew that was relatively cheap for a Model A. So I worked the following summer and with my very first check, I went out and bought it. I put it in the back of my '68 C10 shortstep. As soon as I got home, my brother and friend (who have no interests in cars whatsoever) helped me unload it in the backyard and I played with it all day, mocking up the quarter window panels and sitting in it and pretending to row through the gears. With the Sport Coupe I had the choice of a roadster or coupe (or leaving as be which I realized quite a while later) Obviously being a r*t rodder at the time, I preferred the roadster because it would be easier.

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    It was missing the trunk lid, lower panel between the subrail and trunk lid, cowl and gas tank. I needed all of these to get a complete Sport Coupe body then a friend donated a cowl and gas tank to my cause. I took it apart and bolted it up to what I had and now I could get a vision of what I wanted. It was going to remain rusty and have red chevy truck rally wheels with wide whites, a SBC with a 4 speed.. (fear not, this idea was nixed a long long time ago)

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    But ever since lurking on here, my tastes dramatically changed. They matured as I like to put it. My respect for traditional hot rods and customs had dramatically increased. I was realizing that a r*t rod was not the way to go. I had realized that I was making a dumb choice and wanted the best for my Model A. I had already hacked off the door frames and the bracing that runs from the A-post along the top of the door and down to the door jamb. I was just excited, you could say.. :)

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    But the best thing to happen here are my tastes quickly maturing. Thanks to you guys. Now my aim is for my coupster to be as much of a period correct build as possible.

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    Nonetheless, I knew I wouldn't abandon this project. I would go on and build a roadster although in my opinion it is a huge challenge to make a coupster look "right." I started studying pictures on here, in magazines, and researching information. To say that Bass' builds are an influence is obviously an understatement. Watching his builds on here and your responses to his builds helped me realize that the modifications I have in mind would be acceptable as well as developing ideas. At least I hope they will be. :D

    Some of these modifications that Bass is well-known for doing is cutting stuff up, moving them around, adding different model parts to his builds, et cetera, and finishing up with a totally unique product. (ex: the Wade coupe) I knew that a real custom is done that way but I had no idea that could be applied to a hot rod. My knowledge of modifying hot rods were limited to chopping, channeling, and sectioning. So needless to say.. What Bass was doing was mind-blowing for me. But I was also studying the builds of Rolf, Brent, Dreddybear, JefferyJames, et cetera. The list goes on and I could point out something about each of their builds that has influenced me. Also I never even realized how much work went into historical hot rods until last year or so.

    My aim is for a late 50's era period correct hot rod although the modifications are not what you typically would have seen then. The modifications are purely for aesthetic value.

    So I hope you guys will enjoy what I am building and hopefully will offer up some positive feedback. Suggestions are also welcome!

    Here is a preview of what I am aiming for. A few proportions are slightly off and some details have not been set in stone yet. But this is the basic idea.

    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  2. pcterm2
    Joined: Aug 25, 2009
    Posts: 551

    pcterm2
    Member

    don't forget to post the pics of your build.looks good
     
  3. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Will do. I haven't done much aside from one major modification which I will post up in a which after this gets some response. I'd like to hear what people have to say about of my directional changes and see if any of them are even remotely interested in hearing about a coupster since they're usually frowned upon..

    This will be different from any coupster build I've seen on here.


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  4. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    [​IMG]

    My goal with this build is for a late 50's build using only parts available from '57 or so.. This depends on what parts become available for the right price.

    I have a very tight budget and this build will probably take the better part of the next 2 years or so as I have 3 semesters left to finish college as well as raise the funds for this build.

    But so far, what I know I want is for this A to be channeled the width of the frame, which is 4 inches, so the bottom of the body sits flush with the bottom of the frame. I want this to be one low sucker but still above the scrub line, so a healthy Z is planned for out back along with a dropped front axle. A slight upsweep might be necessary to get the stance I want. Stance is going to be pretty level to maybe a slight rake. I have included a few examples.

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    Wheels have not been determined as I have one mint '40's Ford steel wheel and would like 3 more mint ones for if I decide to go with chrome steel wheels. The front ones would remain stock while the back ones are reversed. Black-walls seem more attractive to me than white-walls. For a while, I was all about white-walls. Perhaps this is just a phase?

    Again, the chrome wheels are an influence of Bass' and a few others'.

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    But lately, black powder-coated wires have been catching my eye..

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    The drivetrain is for the most part down to one of the two combinations. Since I have access to a '57 283 which seems to already have been rebuilt as the lifters have yet to be set. I've been thinking that would go nicely behind a 3-speed with a closed driveline to a banjo rear. But lately, I've been thinking if I want to step up to more power then the 3-speed and banjo would have to come out later for a 4-speed and a 9-inch, provided I can find any of the late 50's variety. At this point, I'm leaning toward the 3-speed and closed driveline to a banjo rear just because everyone around here are into automatics (or the few actually into 3 pedals), open driveshafts, and 9-inches. I can always do a 4-speed and 9-inch combination later in another car.

    For a carburetor set-up, I would like to try my hand at a 4-2 set up. 6-2's seem a little overkill right now and 3-2's are just way too overused. I'm not a fan of the "2-2 barrel to 4-barrel" adapter so that is definitely out of the question.

    I'll update in a while with what parts I have at this point, then the modifications will come after that. Thanks for reading.


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  5. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,988

    fab32
    Member Emeritus

    Sounds like your direction is on solid footing. It's good to hear that you've "considered" the "rat rod" thing and have abandoned the idea for a more traditional approach. That shows your not opposed to maturing as you get further into this hot rod thing. Be sure to keep us up to date on the project and if you get stuck don't be afraid to ask for help. Welcome to the best way to spend your money and display your growing talent.

    Frank
     
  6. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Thanks. It took quite a while for my taste to mature. Before I even got my C10 as a senior gift, I was into rice burners because of the Fast and the Furious series. :D

    I've had numerous phases regarding OT cars but this is definitely my niche. There just isn't a style of car that has as much discipline as it takes to build a traditional period-correct hot rod. But talk is easy. I can only prove what I'm saying by doing exactly what I'm saying.

    I'm definitely going to be asking questions and spending a healthy amount of time in the tech archives. I'm far from being an expert.


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  7. Rolf
    Joined: Jul 23, 2002
    Posts: 1,832

    Rolf
    Member

    Sounds like you have thought it through well.

    Keep us posted (with pictures) and good luck.
     
  8. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Thank you. Your build thread is very informative and very detail-orientated. That is what I aim to do with this build thread.


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  9. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    I'm going to make this post all about what parts I have at this point. I do not have very much right now but this summer should see more parts arrive.

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    As you can see, I got a lot of parts that belong with my A build and quarter window panels as well. I do not plan on using these and they are hanging up in the garage. I'm think I'll probably hang on to them in case I run across another Sports Coupe. I might sell them later on or trade them if parts frugal to this build are offered. Most of these parts are braces from inside the body as well as the package tray that goes behind the seat. But that won't be used.. You'll see why. :D

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    I assume this is a late 40's Ford pick-up axle? All I know are that these are juice brakes and I got lucky and found a really solid set of F1 shock mounts off these which is why I assume this is a Ford pick-up axle.. :) but I took these apart and took the brakes and hubs off. I still don't know if I'll run these but it's comforting knowing that if I need them, they're there. The Banjo rear is also an option if I decide to use that one. I still haven't pulled it apart to look inside but I did drain out the gear lube which there was plenty of and it didn't look like there was any water in it. The rib that should have the gear ratio has been scratched up so the ratio is unknown at this point. One side of the axle is also frozen so I'm unsure of if that makes it unusable..

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    I also pieced together a complete brake assembly minus the shoes for a mid 50's Ford sedan. Again, unsure of if I could run these on an A. Anyone know if these can be adapted to earlier Ford backing plates, particularly Banjo backing plates? I still haven't determined what spindles I'll run. I'm also a little leery of running a single master cylinder.. Anyone know if there were dual master cylinders made in the late '50's or earlier?

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    This is the set of steel wheels I got from my brother in law for free. Only one of them is mint enough to chrome.. 2 kind of looks savable. One of them I don't have as high hopes for. I have another thread on them but never got around to updating that one. I haven't done anything to these aside from take the tires off.

    I'm also getting the '46 Ford 3-speed. Again, being the new guy that I am, is there a way I can put a shifter on top of this transmission and run it behind the early Chevy V8? I know the '39 can be run with an Offy adapter but are the '46 and '39s the same?

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    '53 Merc gauge. I'm uncertain if I'll run this as this has the other 4 gauges on the outer ring and I plan to run 4 SW gauges to the side. I also have 2 of the SW gauges as an oil pressure gauge was used by my dad to test oil pressure in cars. The another one was found in my garage as well still in its box with the instructions and everything. My dad was a little parts hoarder but I'm glad. I bought the Moon-Eyes tach a long time ago before I knew better.. :D I would much rather run a SW tach. So we'll see if I can get rid of the new Chinese-produced tach and put a SW in its place before I get my A up and driving. If all else fails, I'll run a Sun Super Tach II until I find a SW tach.
    [​IMG]

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    And a SW heater.. We'll see if I decide to run that too. Still a lot of variables to decide on.

    I know it's not much but these are what I have in my garage so far. I'm still purging my garage of any and all parts that are r*t rodding and street rodding. :)

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  10. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Here is the basic description of the condition of the body. It will need patch panels all along the edge of the body. The bottom 2 to 3 inches are eaten up. It also needs some straightening done on the driver's quarter. The passenger side wasn't so bad aside from a dent in the rear that I've already fixed. Both doors are no good. The driver's side has rust, holes and pitted metal covering the entire surface. The passenger side got beat in pretty good and I have had no success in straightening that one out. Subrails had a little rust, but were for the most part, hacked up. I took advantage of that to practice my welding skills and patch paneling. This is before I was let loose with the welder.

    [​IMG]

    I won't show you what it looks like now. Let's just say I won't be using the subrails from the last 2 to 3 feet back. :) I plan to make my own set with tube steel after I channel the body and Z the frame. I will, however, preserve the rear subrail.

    Here are some pictures of the condition of the body.

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    Then in-progress pictures of the rear passenger side dent getting hammered out.

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    And a little preview of where I am at right now. I borrowed this frame from my brother in law to mount the body to. Try and identify what has been done to the body (door bottom excluded.. That's my "dummy door"). :D

    [​IMG]

    I'll share the answer and my ideas behind them with y'all tonight.


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  11. Caddy-O
    Joined: Aug 8, 2006
    Posts: 1,645

    Caddy-O
    Member

    Let me know if I can be of any help (although I don't know jack about putting together hotrods)
     
  12. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Will do, man. Thanks. Let me know if you need help as well.

    I don't know jack about customs either. But I sure as heck am willing to learn. :D


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  13. another one converted....I'll be watching....

    Btw love the 67-72's as well. I've got a 72 K5.
     
  14. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Haha. It was a painless conversion. :D

    My C10's falling apart though. I wouldn't mind replacing it with a K5. I've always driven a truck.. Never had anything with a trunk until now. I still gotta convert this one from a rumble seat to a trunk though. I need something with 3 pedals and without fenders.. So this is my baby. The C10 can wait her turn.


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  15. Stan Lee
    Joined: Mar 14, 2010
    Posts: 155

    Stan Lee
    Member

    looks like you got a nice project and the right attitude to build a nice ride and a ton of parts to keep ya busy
     
  16. Looks like a good start and a nice collection of parts. Good luck and I look forward to your progress. Have fun with it!
     
  17. cool start, looks like it may be a good build with the stuff and ideas your going with, look forward to watching it progress.
     
  18. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Thanks everyone. So far.. The questions are:

    Can '55 Ford brakes be adapted to work with Banjo rear axles?

    Did anyone make dual master cylinders in '59 or earlier?

    Can '46 Ford passenger car transmissions be run behind a 283 with an Offy adapter just like the '39 trans? Or will I have to run a '39 trans?

    If the '46 trans can be run, then can it be converted to have a shifter on top of the gearbox? If I'm not mistaken, the '46 sedans had the shifter on the column and not on the floor..

    I'll update tonight with my plans for making this coupster not your ordinary coupster.. :D


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  19. GaryB
    Joined: Dec 19, 2008
    Posts: 3,530

    GaryB
    Member
    from Reno,nv

    sounds like your on a roll
     
  20. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    My plan with the coupster is to make the casual observer unable of identifying it as a coupster at first. To me, most coupsters look weird because of the large cockpit opening. Using a resource of mine, I was able to determine that any of the A coupes/sedan doors are 7 inches longer than the A roadster doors. I know that's true for the '28-'29s but I'm unsure of the '30-'31's. I'll have to look later. The '28-'29 A roadsters have doors that are 7 inches shorter than coupe or sedan doors, which makes the roadster quarters 7 inches longer than normal A quarters.

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    The Sports Coupe dimensions.
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    And the roadster dimensions.
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    So with a cockpit opening larger than A roadsters by about 7 inches, I decided to change that by cutting the rear edge of the cockpit opening on the quarters and panel above the deck lid and moving it all closer to the door jambs by 7 inches. That eliminates the large gap in between the back of the seat and the edge as well as giving the cockpit opening the same distance between the dashboard and the rear opening as an A roadster. I taped this off and looked around to make sure these were the best places to cut. I knew I would have to keep the curve of the edge-to-quarter panel intact, so I decided to cut 1/2 inch above the body line to preserve the body line and keep most of the curve intact. I also decided to cut close to the trunk opening so the curve from the edge-to-trunk opening would remain intact and the panel in between wouldn't be as complex to make.

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    Then to address the door tops, I decided to cap it off as any coupster build would. I have yet to decide whether I want to do something to the doors as it seems like the door tops being capped off would leave a thick top. A roadster doors are skinny so I'm debating whether to change that somehow. I do plan to leave the body line from the door and continue it around the rear of the cockpit opening. I have some body line panels from the window posts on the doors I cut as well as from a friend who chopped his A sedan.

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    I'll update in a while with a couple other ideas I have for the top end of the cockpit opening. Then I'll share some pictures of what I've done within what I've just said. I also have one more modification for the rear body lines in between the trunk and quarters that I would like to do.. Which leads to a question as well as a clue as to what the modification is.

    What do I need to do to get the body line off the rear panel, trunk edges and quarters? It seems like they're spot welded in there or something because I drilled out all of the bolts holding it to the panels and they still won't come off. Help?


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  21. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    I should also add that the body line that will continue around the rear edge of the cockpit opening will not stay straight. The body line will follow the curvature of the top of the edge as pictured above.


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  22. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Another set of modifications I set out to do to my coupster is sectioning half an inch out of the top of the doors as well as the cowl brace that runs along the top of the gas tank.

    One thing I like to see on hot rods are the little tricks made to improve upon the aerodynamics of the hot rod, or streamlining them. When I stand from the front, I like to see the absence of flat surfaces that prevent smooth airflow. Most grilles and some windshields don't bother me as much. A good example of modifications with improving aerodynamics in mind is George Poteet's Rolling Bones-built '34.

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    But to make Model A more aerodynamic takes quite a bit of work. One good modification Bass did, based on the Chrisman coupe, is to graft a more sleek windshield surround in place of the Model A windshield which greatly improves the aerodynamics and it looks great as well.

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    So with my thesis statement out of the way.. :D I set out on sectioning the cowl brace. Starting with the before photo where you can see the flat surface I'm talking about.

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    And measuring, remeasuring, and masking..

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    Then re-remeasuring, re-re-remeasuring and finally cutting. I bolted the bottom half to the gas tank so when I go to tack it on there I can be sure everything is centered and that it doesn't warp.

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    I also drilled out the rivets on the sides so I could get the cowl brace out to work on. I plan to rivet it back in place so it appears more stock than modified.

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    Here you can see the bottom half bolted onto the gas tank so I could center the top half and make sure it's all straight.

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    After trial fitting it, I realized the ends were in the way so I cut them off to reattach later in their new places. It looked pretty good.

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    Here's where I made FNG mistake number one.. Forgetting to strip down the rust off the brace for good welding penetration. Or at least good tack welding penetration.

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    But you can see how I cut half an inch off the side pieces to tack onto the brace itself so it fits right in place.

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    And the other. Here's FNG mistake number two.. I cut off too much so I would have to come back with a piece of metal to fill in the gap to the side. You'll also notice the pitting. That doesn't worry me as much because it will be hidden. This is not a part that sits out in the open but rather behind the A-post when riveted together. I plan on stripping all of the rust off and coating it at some point so it doesn't rust later on down the road.

    I then put it back on to trial fit it and I also sectioned and tacked the body line back on the "dummy door" which is no good. Better to test out ideas on something I have no intention to use so I don't go and ruin a good set of doors. I haven't sectioned the interior panel of the door but it gives you a good idea of the effect half an inch has. It all seems to flow together pretty good in my opinion. I'll have to come back and redesign the corner of the A post after I find some good doors and rebuild the door hinges.

    [​IMG]


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  23. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    I then turned my attention to the A-posts where the rivet holes are and cut them off to match the new rivet holes. Here I am before stripping and tacking.

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    Then tacked in with a filler piece.

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    And then the corner and finishing up.

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    I'll go back over this area and fill in the low spots and make it all smooth later.

    I turned my attention back to the ends and finished them up. I used an assortment of hand files to fine tune the curve where the brace meets the A-post.

    [​IMG]

    And then finish welded the brace itself, jumping around as to avoid getting one area too hot and warping it.

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    And ground them down. Then I fit it on the car to see how much more improved it appeared.

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    Then came the bolts and the chance to stand back and admire it..

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    I went back and finished the other A-post. Basically the same process as the driver's side. I forgot to snap a picture of it finished but it looks the same as the other. Here's the before.

    [​IMG]


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  24. farmer12
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 7,718

    farmer12
    Member

    Just found this thread. I must say I like the way you tackle this project. It's great to see so much enthusiasm. I'll be following this thread for sure. Keep up the good work!
     
  25. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Thank you! I've been following yours as well. I haven't posted any responses to your build thread but your car is pure awesomeness! I've always loved the concept of a kustom but with the heart and soul of a hot rod under it. Not everyone on here are into modern gearboxes like your 6-speed but that gearbox is going to put that Hemi to use more than a 4-speed ever would. :D


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  26. farmer12
    Joined: Aug 28, 2006
    Posts: 7,718

    farmer12
    Member

    Thanks TexasSpeed. Even though I'm using fuel injection on the Hemi and a TKO 600 5 speed, it seems the Hamb family don't mind. Phew..... BTW, what are your plans on this model A with regards to drivetrain?
     
  27. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    5-speed? Uh. I should have double-checked. :D I knew it was a modern transmission. Oh well..

    I'm about to get a '57 283 which I plan to put in front of a 3-speed of the early Ford variety with a closed driveshaft to a banjo rear. It'll be as period correct as possible for a late 50's build. I don't really have enough stuff to get started on the frame and drivetrain so I've been keeping busy with the body modifications and repairs.


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  28. anteek
    Joined: Feb 27, 2009
    Posts: 394

    anteek
    Member

    Ramblers were among the first to use a dual line master cylinder in the '50's; use a double line one and call it a Rambler part. Safety first!
     
  29. TexasSpeed
    Joined: Nov 2, 2009
    Posts: 4,604

    TexasSpeed
    Member

    Thank you! I'll look into that.


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  30. Stan Lee
    Joined: Mar 14, 2010
    Posts: 155

    Stan Lee
    Member

    this is looking really good man your well on your way with this build
     

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